$1B BofA Mortgage Suit May Usher Broad Crackdown On Banks

October 24, 2012

Jordan A. Thomas explains how whistleblowers are a 'powerful' tool for the government when pursuing cases involving complex financial frauds.

What also makes FCA suits an attractive option is its frequent reliance on whistleblowers, perhaps the most powerful tool the government has in cracking down on complex financial frauds, said Jordan Thomas, who chairs Labaton Sucharow LLP's whistleblower enforcement practice and helped craft the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's whistleblower program.

In the BofA case, the whistleblower is former Countrywide senior vice president Edward J. O'Donnell.

"What's powerful about whistleblower cases for the government is, simply, that they have maximum intelligence — someone who can direct them to the heart of the misconduct," Thomas told Law360. "It's critically important in these types of cases involving large financial institutions: What practices are questionable? Who's responsible for overseeing them? In what office is the misconduct taking place?"

If the DOJ does pursue similar cases against other financial institutions, whistleblowers likely will be key players, Thomas said.